The number of loaners trays delivered per month is up 35% as compared to before the pandemic*. As we’ve discussed in the past, with the increase in procedures at more locations, it doesn’t look like this trend will slow down. At what point does this become a problem?
For manufacturers, loaner sets allow them to implant more devices, with less inventory of expensive equipment. They’re looking to maximize the number of times a set gets used. But it can be costly moving that set around the region/country.
The rep is responsible for facilitating loaner needs. They are the middleman scrambling to get all the logistical stars to align [hopefully] in their favor so they can deliver them on-time.
For the hospital, loaners help fill the need for equipment needed occasionally without taking up valuable and often scarce sterile storage space. But they also create more exposure.
With a greater number of loaner trays, comes greater risk. That risk includes case-delays as well as patient safety:
Loaner sets are more likely to be rushed through processing to meet their impending need. In addition to case preparedness, this impacts productivity and staffing.
Staff familiarity with these sets is variable (at best) and it's unlikely facilities or the vendor have well-organized IFU details necessary to ensure the correct preparation.
So how do we solve this? What is an appropriate number of loaner trays that a facility should be processing for their procedures? How many should be consigned? Should there be an industry ratio established evaluating number of procedures requiring the same equipment?
It seems like these would be questions those hospitals, and manufacturers alike, should be working together to establish.
*Statistics source: Surgio Vendor Insight reporting